Friday, July 24, 2015

Strange things going on...

Doctor Strange was created to be featured in the similarly named comic found at Marvel comics, titled Strange Tales.  Steve Ditko was the creative talent who created him.  His character was a mix of Eastern mystic, psychedelic guru, black magic user, and wise user of karmic energy.   Some people have argued that Doctor Strange seems to have been evidence that the people at Marvel used drugs or were involved in drug culture, but, according to what I've been told Steve Ditko almost certainly did not.  According to the person who explained Steve Ditko to me, he is/was the living example of teetotaler.  There have been so far, a television movie of the character, various cartoon appearances, and a DVD animated feature.   There is slated for a 2016 Marvel Universe live action feature film, featuring current geek lord of culture, Benedict Cumberbatch.

DVD animated feature
In the world of Marvel Comics there are well known characters, Thor, Spider-man, Captain America, Hulk, and many more.  There are great teams of valor and consequence, Fantastic Four, X-Men, The Avengers, and more.  And you didn't hear me say Doctor Strange, or the group he was a part of, The Defenders.

There is a difference, in all things, between popular, and quality.  One indicates that people like it.  The other indicates that for a series of measurable qualities, a work is considered to be good or not as good.  In terms of comic book characters longevity is a means of measuring popularity, but it isn't really a good measure.  A character can be good, that is, a well reasoned origin, an interesting personality, fulfills an interesting area of culture or ethnic background, or has some specific power or ability, and still not resonate with an audience.  That can be for many reasons.  Whether the audience is racist, or uninterested in other genders as heroes, or simply, the powers or origins do not work for the audience.  Sometimes a publisher will reboot the character, hoping to find an audience, other times it will keep the character in the background hoping for a groundswell of popularity.  Or, as in the case of Animal Man in the early I think 1990s, Grant Morrison wrote the wienie character out of Oblivion into popular acceptance.  A great writer or artist *or both* can do wonders for the popularity of a character with an audience.

Doctor Strange is a Sorcerer, a mystical master of magics.  His origin and adventures were excitingly presented with art by Steve Ditko, and later with by Frank Brunner.  Doctor Strange the character has drawn in many artists who desired to illustrate his adventures.  The writers have had some greater and lesser runs.  The reason for that is, it can be difficult to write visually exciting tales that are new, in the life of a sorcerer who has had his stories illustrated by some of the greatest artists of the medium.  

There are many runs to choose from.  In single issues there are two lovely series, self named series.  And via the Essentials, you can harvest the Steve Ditko works.  Via the Graphic novels there are many great read in a sitting stories.  Take advantage of the format of Graphic novels and warm up to a relatively obscure character.   He is deserving of a far greater audience, and more popularity.

He'll cast a spell upon you...

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